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13 / 02 / 2007

CATCH-22: meaning and examples

Hello again.

Today's expression is: Catch-22

Meaning: a difficult situation that is impossible to escape from because each part of the problem must be solved first. In other words, there is no escape because you need to do one thing before doing a second, and you cannot do the second thing before doing the first.

This term came from the novel, Catch-22, written by the US author, Joseph Heller, in the 1960s.

Example 1
I can't apply for work papers until I have a job offer, but nobody will offer me a job until I have my work papers! It's a catch-22 situation. What am I doing to do?

Example 2:
She can't apply for the job because she doesn't have anywhere to live, but she won't have money to rent a place to live until she has a job. It's another catch-22 situation.

Sometime we refer to these contexts as "no-win situations." 

What I haven't been able to find is a good translation to Spanish or Catalan for this term. How would you translate it? I'll give the first person who can convince me that his or her translation is correct a free six-month subscription to the Daily Vitamin Plus!

Have a stupendous day!

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